UND cruises past Northern Arizona in Big Sky women's basketball

GRAND FORKS-The second half of the Big Sky Conference season began Saturday, Jan. 28.For the University of North Dakota, the beginning of the league's stretch run looked promising-especially the Fighting Hawks' ability to shoot the basketball.UND...

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GRAND FORKS-The second half of the Big Sky Conference season began Saturday, Jan. 28.

For the University of North Dakota, the beginning of the league's stretch run looked promising-especially the Fighting Hawks' ability to shoot the basketball.

UND shot the ball 40 percent from the field in the first half of the league season. In its start to the second half of league play, UND shot a blistering 59 percent in running past Northern Arizona 88-69 before 1,802 fans at The Betty.

UND improved to 9-1 in the league and 13-7 overall. The win also set up a showdown next week at Northern Colorado, which is 10-0 in the Big Sky after crushing Southern Utah on Saturday.

"We're happy but we can't be content," said UND senior Makailah Dyer, who scored 16 points and dished out seven assists. "We have to keep working in practice. We have a huge game coming up and we're excited about it."


UND's second-half shooting is what stood out. The Fighting Hawks were called for 17 first-half fouls, whistles that kept NAU in the game as the Lumberjacks trailed 29-23 at the break.

UND, though, got its offense rolling in the final two quarters. The Hawks were 13-for-17 from the field in the third quarter and 9-for-13 in the fourth. UND scored in transition and in the paint. Fallyn Freije had another big game as the 6-foot sophomore finished with a career-high 22 points and 11 rebounds. Samantha Roscoe added 10 more inside as the Hawks enjoyed a 30-12 scoring advantage in the paint.

"We came out with good resolve," said UND coach Travis Brewster of his team's second-half play. "They really took it to them in transition. Our players did a nice job of filling their lanes and sharing the ball. It was fun for them; fun to watch; and I hope our fans enjoyed it.

"But it was all predicated by what we did in the first half defensively."

UND quickly established control in the third quarter as Freije hit a 3-pointer followed by a Lexi Klabo inside basket for a 34-23 advantage. Freije and Dyer combined for a 9-0 UND run later in the quarter, a spurt that put the Hawks up 51-37.

"Mak had a level of intensity about her today we hadn't seen in awhile," Brewster added.

UND's defense held NAU (2-7, 6-14) to 32 percent shooting. The Lumberjacks, led by Rene Coggins' 18 points, hits seven second-half three-pointers.

The Fighting Hawks have won 21 of their past 23 Big Sky games dating back to last season.


But UND now hits the most challenging portion of its season-road games at Northern Colorado, Eastern Washington and Idaho in the next two weeks. All three teams are in the top half the Big Sky.

"We told our player to enjoy things; it's not everyday you can be 9-1 in the conference," said Brewster. "But we still have a little bit of work to do. We have a tough trip coming up, three tough games to play. We just have to keep giving ourselves a chance. This group is getting better."

NAU 13 23 41 69

UND 18 29 61 88

NAU (6-14, 2-7 Big Sky): Coggins 5-14 5-6 18, Lusain 3-13 0-0 6, Lucero 6-15 1-5 15, Paplow 3-7 2-2 9, Cotton 2-4 4-6 8, Perez 1-9 0-0 3, Preston 0-4 0-0 0, Leyva 3-7 3-5 10. Totals 23-73 15-24 69.

UND (14-7, 9-1): Franklin 1-2 0-0 2, Dyer 6-12 2-4 16, Strand 3-6 0-0 7, Klabo 3-5 3-4 9, Freije 10-15 1-3 22, Szabla 3-4 4-4 10, Morton 2-4 4-4 8, Roscoe 5-7 0-0 10, Sawatzke 0-0 0-0 0, Ripplinger 0-0 0-0 0, Boike 1-1 1-1 3, Burroughs 0-2 1-2 1. Totals 34-58 16-22 88.

3-point goals: NAU 8-23 (Coggins 3-6, Lusain 0-1, Lucero 2-4, Paplow 1-2, Perez 1-7, Preston 0-2, Leyva 1-1), UND 4-10 (Dyer 2-3, Strand 1-4, Freije 1-1, Morton 0-1, Burroughs 0-1). Rebounds: NAU 37 (Leyva 9), UND 42 (Freije 11). Assists: NAU 10 (Lusain 3), UND 23 (Dyer 7). Steals: NAU 6 (Leyva 2), UND 5 (Strand 2, Sawatzke 2). Turnovers: NAU 10 (Lucero 5), UND 14 (Freije 4). A-1,802.

Wayne Nelson is the sports editor at the Herald.

He has been with the Grand Forks Herald since 1995, serving as the UND football and basketball beat writer as well as serving as the sports editor.

He is a UND graduate and has been writing sports since the late 1970s.

Follow him on Twitter @waynenelsongf. You can reach him at (701) 780-1268 or
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